Tech support scam and tech maintenance scams are on the increase. 2017 saw an 86% rise in tech support scam grievances over 2016, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Fraudsters have found a lucrative niche by fraudulently posing as tech support services. If you get scammed, you possibly stand to lose private information, cash, your privacy, and time in the process.
These scams are comparatively common. It is essential to know how to recognize these designs and watch out for the warning signs. If you do get scammed, make sure you report it — but hopefully, this information will stop you from losing.
For many years now, fraudsters have been calling random numbers and pretending to be from your software company or your computer’s manufacturer. They inform you they want access to your computer for some purpose — eliminating a virus, fixing an update, etc. You give access to your computer or private information, and they use this information to discredit your identity or computer security. Or, they ask you for payment.
If it’s a genuine company, you won’t get an unsolicited call from them. If you’re hesitant, hang up and talk to the company directly to find out.
Here are the warning signs:
- Phishing Emails
This happens when fraudsters send out an email with an ill-disposed intention to take private data, infect your computer, or obtain access to your computer system. In a tech support scam, you are given a link or a fake tech support phone number. After communicating with the fraudster and providing payment or access to your system, you’d then have your safety and privacy compromised.
Scam emails frequently contain flaws, aren’t sent from an email linked with the real company’s website, or look questionable. Even the scam emails that don’t look peculiar can often get recognized. They may have a link that takes you to a scam website. It’s best to avoid clicking links in emails you’re hesitant about.
- Fake Pop-Ups
Don’t fall for the false pop-ups. These pop-ups can appear while you’re surfing the web — a prompt tells you that your computer has a virus and given a phone number or other information to contact so you can get it removed. This is a fake tech support company trying to steal your money, personal information, or both.
You don’t need to get tech support from pop-ups. Look for a reputable company if you’re concerned about your computer having a virus.
- Bad Links Online
Of course, you can also easily spot and click on a bad link that’ll begin to download damaging viruses or to provide private data and computer access to unapproved people. Be careful where you download software online, which links you click, and where you look for help. Only rely on well-known companies with proven track records.
Scammed? Take the right action…
- Edit your identifications and make sure that your accounts are secured
- Run a scan on your system.
- Let your financial institution know.
- Complain to the officials. You can inform your local police, but you can also report to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Be proactive. Protect yourself and your loved ones from tech support scam.